This past Friday, download numbers for Weekend Read shot through the roof for no apparent reason.

chart

To give some sense of scale, those ordinary days on the left range from 50 to 75 downloads per day. The spike is 3,591. 1

Weekend Read is a free app, so it’s certainly possible that an online mention convinced a lot of people to download it.2

Or perhaps it was featured on a section of the App Store.

Was it related to Rian Johnson and his Star Wars news? The scripts for Rian’s first three movies are available inside the app. Maybe someone linked to that in a Star Wars forum.

Or perhaps it really just was a fluke — a flurry of downloads that pushed it up higher and higher in the charts, creating a virtuous cycle. (We peaked at 162 in Productivity.)

Weekend Read sends our server a ping when it’s first installed, but we can’t track the source of download unless it comes from a specially-crafted URL such as this one.

We may never know exactly what happened. Apple currently gives developers no way of tracking where traffic is coming from. Better analytics are coming in a future version of iTunes Connect, but for now all we get are mysterious numbers. It’s our own little Wow! signal.

  1. The graphic comes from the iOS version of App Viz, which I love. The trend line is certainly misleading in this case.
  2. In-app purchases of Weekend Read Unlocked, which gives users an unlimited library, were not up proportionately to downloads.